Tuna-Salad Sandwich, Julia Child Style Recipe (2024)

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Hugh Stevens

Imagine how good the sandwich would have been if Julia could have used Duke's mayonnaise.


I have enjoyed tuna fish sandwiches for years; that and toasted cheese sandwiches with sliced tomatoes are a motivator for getting me to join one for lunch. At 82, life is made richer by company who enjoy a good laugh and well made sandwiches. Missing Julia.


Thanks for sharing this. Your writing that Julia craved simple food brought back one of my favorite memories of my career in food. In the late 80’s I was the Chef at a well known steakhouse. I believe Julia was in town for a benefit and having lunch in our dining room. After the meal, I was summoned over to the table. Julia looked directly at me and said that I had prepared one of the best baked potatoes she had ever had. A baked potato! I won’t ever forget her warmth and kindness that day.


Thank you Ms. Greenspan for this delightful remembrance. I found it to be a respite, however brief, from the current wackadoodle world in which we live. I look forward to having friends and family at my house again and cooking like it's the end of the world!


Years ago I was tasked by my boss to deliver flowers to Julia's Cambridge home. She answered the door, shrieked with delight - in that amazing voice - about the flowers and invited me into her iconic kitchen. She made me a tuna sandwich identical to the recipe here. (It was the first time I had ever had a caper which I am now never without). She then called upon me to help her dismantle her vacuum cleaner and go to the store together to purchase a new cleaner bag. A memorable afternoon.


I made this exactly as written except used Duke’s rather than Hellman’s. My husband thought it was great. The lemon juice really elevated the flavor. This is my new favorite tuna sandwich recipe.


It may seem like French "fussiness", but peeling the celery gets rid of the stringy outer layer and immeasurably improves the texture of the celery. Well worth the few moments it takes to do it.

Frederick Tibbetts

According to lore, if Julia used a toasted roll, muffin or bread for a sandwich like this, it would be buttered before tuna (or lobster) was added. “It’s so important,” she would say. So, to be authentic, go rather light on the mayonnaise, and don’t skip the butter.

Ellen Tabor

Tuna salad is my absolute favorite, even if imperfectly created.This one looks right, and I apologize for my arrogance when comparing mine to Julia Child's. The pickles are essential! I use kosher dills or even relish. I don't usually have access to delicious tomatoes anymore, so I leave them out and I like rye bread untoasted more than an English muffin. Tuna salad sandwiches are my madeleine, and remain a perennial delight.


My secret ingredient is a dollop of horseradish - golds or fancy -doesn’t matter. Adds a great kick and depth of flavor to the mayonnaise!

Euphemia Thompson

I remember when the small can of tuna was 8 oz. Bumble Bee, the preferred brand by my mom (and now me) would go on sale, 3/$1.00. Imagine that.I lived on tuna as a kid, and still do. I wish it were safer to eat -- now I limit my exposure (mercury, you know?) to once a week. I could eat it every day.Delighted to see Hellman's was Julia's go-to mayo; and the recipe is reminiscent of mom's. Thank you, Dorie.


While I deeply respect Julia Child, I would say that Tuna is a very personal food; so much so that, if I were to have a "last meal" it would be tuna.I say less is more....tuna (Bumble Bee in water), home made relish (my wife cans her own), Hellman's mayo (not too much) on seeded rye with a slice of late August, juicy, Beefsteak tomato.I could die happy with that.


Note that in the West, Hellman’s is Best Foods. “Bring out the Hellman’s and bring out the Best,” as the jingle used to go.

Denis Pelletier

Does anyone add a chopped hard-boiled egg? I've always added the egg, about 1/3 of an apple, chopped, and toasted slivered almonds.


Tomatoes come in all colors, even green. This might be a Green Zebra. They're very sweet and tomatoey. Cheers!


Classic with a twist—loved the capers and cornichons. I used 3 tablespoons of mayo, which was just enough for me but a little on the dry side. I didn’t add salt, pepper, or lemon juice because I thought the taste was already balanced just right. Interesting to note that the recipe correctly says 2 sandwiches, but the nutrition information says SIX. Stop with that deceptive nonsense.


Have made this dozens of times now and still love it. Hellmans is as essential as the tuna. A heaping scoop over a simple salad of crisp lettuce dressed with lemon, sweet white vinegar and olive oil and a tranche of salted matzo will make you feel indestructible.

West coast

Another option instead of lemon juice is a bit of balsamic (or other) vinegar. Similar but different.It should also be noted that a lot of tuna is being over fished, to the point of imminent extinction. If you want to eat tuna, you should be a responsible consumer.

Mary Alice

This is now my go to tuna salad recipe. My 88 yo FIL doesn’t eat fish much but liked my old recipe and he wasn’t too happy I was messing with it. But now he’s a convert! Yes, I do use Duke’s and imported tuna in olive oil.

Peter Kaplan

My go to tuna salad recipe. Awesome!


Great recipe, I love a good tuna salad sandwich, and this is a great one. Just a note, Julia may have lived in MA for a long time, but she was born in CA and later moved back, probably after the death of her husband.I stood in line for over two hours in Framingham, MA to get her book signed. Everyone in the line was so excited just to see her up close and to own one of her cookbooks that had been signed by her. I still treasure it!


A big disappointment; I used a $15 can of special tuna for an average outcome. Spare yourself the effort and waste of time. Classic tuna fish, in my mind, should be diced onion and celery, mixed with mayo and salt and pepper. This concoction was a flop.

Lynda H.

This is (of course!) a great tuna sandwich. Because I dislike mayo with tuna, I moistened the tuna salad with olive oil and lemon juice. The only other changes were to use a heaping 1/4 cup celery and both capers and olives. And I buttered the English muffins because I thought it would add another layer of flavor (it did) so was pleased when I later read Frederick Tibbetts' note that Julia would butter the bread, too. I now have 3 favorite tuna salad recipes, but this is my "uber-favorite."


As often is the case, Time 10 Minutes is off by a big margin.None-the-less, go for it, including selecting Hellmans.

Bob Morgen

If you put the lettuce leaf on the top, instead of on the bottom, you can eat the open-face sandwich out of your hand without getting your fingers messy.

Mary Murphy

This is our go-to dinner when there is nothing in the fridge.Like Julia, I am a Hellman's fan and adding staples like Trader Joe's cornichons, makes it so good.

Siobhan Troyer

Absolutely perfect formula for a tuna fish sandwich. However I, god forgive me, can’t resist adding layer of potato chips to the sandwich version, & then crushing them with a good whack. Don’t know if Julia would be amused or horrified.


This is hands down the best tuna salad I've ever had and I don't think I want it any other way now. Absolutely delicious but very easy to make. Thank you Julia!

Diane D

What a great use for cornichons. Never put them or capers in my tuna fish, but the results were worth it. I've also never used white pepper, but is great as well. My only difference was the use of Whole Foods' 365 brand mayo and that was fine, too.


Having discovered Farmers Market Celery, It has become my go to. It has a certain flavor of licorice or anise, quite bright, that the Supermarket celery while pleasant just tastes different in sandwiches. The Farmer Market celery is tastier in tuna and chicken salad. Sliced chunky, not finely. As for olives, I have been using the stuffed green instead of black. But it is to your own taste. Prefer red onion. Dicks mayo, discovered during free sample day at the Ohio State Fair in 2016, a yes!

Pizza Quixote

I think what you are calling "Farmers Market Celery" is fennel. And it's great stuff!


No pizza my friend. I mean Farmer Market Celery. Real celery. Fresh picked and delivered over the CA line to NV quickly. Fresh picked celery has a completely different taste than Supermarket celery. Fennel is fennel, It is small and has a bulb for a base and fronds and it smells and tastes like clouds of anise. I slice Fennel thin and add it to salads or eat it plain after a meal. An unsung vegetable hero, So. if you see fresh celery in the Farmer Market, do bring it home. Its transformative.

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Tuna-Salad Sandwich, Julia Child Style Recipe (2024)
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